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Press Release
December 22, 2008

National Archives Celebrates Black History Month in February

Washington, DC…The National Archives will celebrate Black History Month in February with a special showing of the Emancipation Proclamation, an American Conversation with Henry Louis Gates, book talks, and films. These programs are free and open to the public. They will be held at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, located on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC.

The Emancipation Proclamation!
**February 12-16, 2009 - Featured Document Display: The Emancipation Proclamation**
Thursday, February 12 through Monday, February 16, 2009
National Archives East Rotunda Gallery

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the Presidents' Day holiday, the National Archives will display the original Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln. The special display of the Emancipation Proclamation is free and open to the public.
Special hours:  Open extended hours until 6:30 p.m. on February 14–16 for viewing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Last admission is 30 minutes prior to closing.

Thursday, February 5, at 7 p.m.
An American Conversation with Henry Louis Gates
7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater

The National Archives welcomes Harvard professor and renowned author, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to discuss African American genealogy. Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will also join the discussion. While researching his own family history, Professor Gates discovered the fascinating histories of other prominent African Americans, resulting in his new book, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past. A book signing will follow the program. The two-part PBS documentary, African American Lives, upon which In Search of Our Roots is based, will be screened in the William G. McGowan Theater on February 6 and 13 at noon.

Friday, February 6, and Friday, February 13, at noon
Film:  African American Lives
Noon, William G. McGowan Theater

Hosted and narrated by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, African American Lives, an unprecedented four-part PBS series, takes Alex Haley’s Roots saga to a new level through moving stories of personal discovery. Using genealogy, oral history, family stories and DNA analysis to trace lineage through American history and back to Africa, the series provides a life-changing journey for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans: Dr. Ben Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T. D. Jakes, Dr. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey. Each day’s program will run 120 minutes.

Wednesday, February 11, at noon
Book talk:  Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant
Noon, Jefferson Room

Lt. General, Julius W. Becton, Jr., discusses his memoir, Becton: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant. Julius Becton fought for his country in three wars, overcame many obstacles and reached the unprecedented rank of three-star general. Later, he was both the innovative head of FEMA and a university president. A book signing will follow the program.

Wednesday, February 25, at noon
Book talk:  Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America
Noon, Jefferson Room

In Death or Liberty, Douglas R. Egerton offers a sweeping chronicle of African American history stretching from Britain’s 1763 victory in the Seven Years’ War to the election of slaveholder Thomas Jefferson as President in 1800. Egerton helps to recapture the drama of slaves, freed blacks, and white reformers fighting to make the young nation fulfill its republican slogans while recalling compelling portraits of forgotten figures. A book signing will follow the program.

The National Archives is fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please e-mail public.program@nara.gov or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event. To verify the date and times of the programs, see the Calendar of Events online.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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